It’s Not Our Tent

M4034S-4211This was the devotional at our Staff Parish Committee Meeting last night, offered by one of our great layfolks.

An important word for all of us in the UMC, where ever we come down on the issue of “inclusion.”

The word is: “It’s not our tent.” (Underlining by me.)

 

“ The desire to learn what the faith is from those who have lived it in the face of being told they are not welcome or worthy is far more than “inclusion.” Actually, inclusion isn’t the right word at all, because it sounds like in our niceness and virtue we are allowing “them” to join “us”—like we are judging another group of people to be worthy of inclusion in a tent that we don’t own. I realized in that coffee shop that I need the equivalent of the Ethiopian eunuch to show me the faith. I continually need the stranger, the foreigner, the “other” to show me water in the desert….
Until I face the difficulty of that question and come up, as Philip did, with no good answer… until then, I can only look at the seemingly limited space under the tent and think either it’s my job to change people so they fit or it’s my job to extend the roof so that they fit. Either way, it’s misguided because it’s not my tent. It’s God’s tent. The wideness of the tent of the Lord is my concern only insofar as it points to the gracious nature of a loving God who became flesh and entered into our humanity. The wideness of the tent is my concern only insofar as it points to the great mercy and love of a God who welcomes us all as friends. ”

— Nadia Bolz-Weber from “Pastrix

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

One thought on “It’s Not Our Tent

  1. I wish you folks could have heard our St. Stephen pastor, the Rev. Nancy DeStefano, talk last Sunday about encountering a tattooed, Goth-clad young woman on the street in Nashville at the last Festival of Homiletics. Nancy said the sight of the young woman made her uncomfortable, and she didn’t speak or smile, but became actively engaged with her cellphone. Imagine Nancy’s surprise the next morning when the same young woman she’d seen the night before turned out to be that day’s preacher … the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber!

    Having met and corresponded with Nadia, who comes to Dallas periodically, I have to say that she’s someone whose words are eminently worth sharing.

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